Russell Sutton is a man after our own heart. The craftsman has spent the last four years building a nine-cylinder radial engine using a smattering of Honda XR600 singles for his airboat. After a little trial and error, Sutton discovered his creation is happier running off of liquid propane gas instead of gasoline. Years of hard work finally paid off when he recently started his monster creation for the first time. The elegant radial fires with a puff of smoke before before settling into a perfect hum. Unfortunately, the success is quickly marred by the sound of mechanical failure.

As it turns out, the cast piston sleeves Sutton used in his creation can't withstand the abuse of the radial. In addition, some of the pistons required shaving in order to work with the different stroke. Unfortunately, the shaving caused the pistons to delaminate their crown, causing further trouble. Despite the issues, Sutton seems to take the failure in stride and plans to correct the issues before firing up the engine one more time. We could all learn a thing or two from his resilience. Scroll down to check out a few videos of the engine. If you want to skip ahead, check out the second video around the 2:30 mark.







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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awesome, I love seeing homemade stuff like this! Now he knows exactly what to do to fix the engine, and it's very interesting to see all the details of how it's all set up.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      He's taking a pretty big problem quite well. Props to him for not only building that engine, showing it off on YT, but also being able to take a set-back like that in stride.
      Kwijiboz
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's awesome! Please, Autoblog, keep us posted with updates from this guy. Go Aussie, and long live your Hills Hoist :-p
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Near our summer place there is a small county airport. I guy there has a B-25 Mitchell. Love the sound of radials. Probably my favorite internal cumbustion engine. An engineer back in 1939 called the Mitchell the most effective way humans have every created for turning gasoline into noise.
      Pinhead
      • 2 Years Ago
      That was some serious amount of awesome for an engine that only idled for like 15 seconds.
      Jaybird248
      • 2 Years Ago
      It was kind of like watching old Henry Ford at work on his first car. Hope he can make it work. Hope he becomes a rich guy someday inreturn for his efforts. Heaven bless the innovators.
      Gary Lancaster
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy is my hero! Autoblog - please keep us abreast of his efforts. I can't imagine a guy putting all that effort into a project, having it last for virtually a few seconds, and still maintaining the positive attitude he projects. We need more guys like Russell Sutton.
      wsbfan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm glad to hear it's for a boat and not a plane
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      What an engine. I admit I know very little about the radial engine, and havent really seen or heard any old radial powered airplanes, but it is absolutely fascinating. What order do the cylinders fire? I imagine the cylinders firing one after another going around the circle as the crank spins, is that so?
        Timbo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        Yes indeed you are correct.. pretty amazing technology. Check out this video of the Rolls Royce Merlin V12 (also built by Packard for the P51 Mustang.. Cadillac of the skies) Technically I don't think it is radial but awesome nonetheless http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhM4tLOxk1s
          Mchicha
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Timbo
          If you check out a Corsair or a Hellcat or wildcat, those had Radial engines.. The P51 Mustang and things like P38 and Spitfire had regular V12 In-line Engines
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Timbo
          [blocked]
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Timbo
          Don't listen to them. Radial powered fighters were ok, but there was inherent trouble with that much reciprocating mass in the same axis as the aircraft itself. The real beauty of the radial came in multi-engine bombers. In St Louis about 5 years ago we had an outdoor summer theatre show of South Pacific. They would have a B-17 flyover at the beginning & end of the show. Rather than land & take off again, the plane would loiter all evening around my neighborhood. Those four big engines at a distance roy-roy-roy-roy-roy-roy-roy-roy-roy. Nothing else sounds like it.
        Nemebean
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        Autoblog posted a link to a site with an explanation of the radial engine not too long ago: http://www.animatedengines.com/gnome.html I believe that's the correct type. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
      stclair5211
      • 2 Years Ago
      And next week the Obama brown shirts from the EPA show up to confiscate his creation because it doesn't meet air pollution regulations. Hope and change.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        [blocked]
        Drakkon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        I live in the land of hope and change. You live in the land of fear and anger. Somehow we share a country but you would never know it from the outside.
        ابوذر ڀرڳڙي
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Considering the fact that he isn't in America, I believe he will be alright.
        untitledfolder
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        This guy. Another wingnut comment on every article. I'm not even sure he likes cars. It's like foxnews.com is leaking.
        Pinhead
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Stupidest comment I've read on Autoblog all month, bro.
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you built it...it won't run.
      hunter
      • 2 Years Ago
      this guy is so awesome
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